If you've been planning on using a loan backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, it's important to know that VA loan limits have decreased in some areas of the country. Don't fret: all signs point towards the decreases having a negligible impact on the majority of veteran borrowers. However, if you're a veteran and have been following a specific financial plan to afford a home, it's important to know exactly what the limits are in case you'll need to save more money than you had planned.
VA loan limits are designed to allow veterans to buy homes without putting any money down. The limits usually reflect a rough average cost of homes in the area. If the price of a home is greater than the limit, the prospective buyer must put down a percentage of the difference between the home's value and the local VA loan limit.
To help veterans easily identify where regional loan limits have fallen, GlobeNewswire reports that a free, online resource has been released by iFreedomDirect. Their 2015 VA Loan Limit page includes maps that break down the new limits by region, and a chart that compares limits from 2014 to the new 2015 limits.
According to GlobeNewswire, the key takeaways of the page are as follows:
- VA limits down in 84 counties and 14 states
- San Francisco County, CA dropped 40.4 percent
- Big Island in Hawaii remained at $625,500 while Honolulu remained at $721,050
- Limits in multiple high-cost Virginia communities dropped by roughly 9.7 percent
It's important to note that not all zones decreased their limits, and in fact there are more zones that remained unchanged.
Furthermore, these changes may not be permanent. According to iFreedomDirect, "In the past, the VA has had statutory authority to exceed the FHFA and GSE limits. That authority is set to expire at the end of 2014. If it does, VA limits will fall in line with FHFA's. But Congress may choose to reinstate or extend the VA's authority for higher loan limits, though it's uncertain whether this will happen. If Congress takes no action, the limits in this article will be in force for 2015."
Whatever the outcome of the 2015 limits, it's important for all veterans considering using a VA-backed loan to plan as well as possible. Whether purchasing a home now or in a few years, proper financial planning is key to success, and knowing how loan limits change is a critical part of that process.